UNDERSTANDING OUR ROLE IN YOUR DIVORCE Thank you for choosing Hamblett & Kerrigan, P.A. This legal guide is intended to answer some of your general questions pertaining to the divorce process in New Hampshire. It is not meant to be a complete legal guide. Every case is unique, and your situation may vary from this information. PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS at any time. You or your spouse may not fully understand the process of obtaining a divorce or the time involved. You or your spouse may expect the legal process to solve problems it cannot solve. For example, the law will not award one party a divorce and the other a reconciliation. The law cannot solve the emotional aspects of the break-up of your relationship. You may feel that your financial condition is poor right now, but after separation, your finances are likely to be worse. Your spouse may have unrealistic expectations as to the amount of property that will be received. The Court cannot divide assets that do not exist nor award support that cannot be paid. As your attorneys, our duty is to inform you of your rights and obligations and to assist you in arriving at an equitable resolution of your domestic matter. We will inform you of all settlement offers, and advise you whether an offer is equitable and in accordance with what a Court would likely award. It is your decision whether to accept a settlement offer. If a settlement cannot be reached, we will prepare your case for trial. We encourage you to communicate with your spouse; however, discussions are often misunderstood as agreements. Be cautious in negotiations with your spouse, who may feel an advantageous settlement can be made directly with you. Agreements made without advice of counsel may or may not be binding and approved by the court. Do not sign any documents without first discussing them with this office. When children are involved, your relationship with your spouse does not end with the Final Decree of Divorce. You will have continued contact with your spouse regarding support, visitation and other parental responsibilities. For the sake of your children, keep open the lines of communication to your spouse. No one wins when a marriage is dissolved. However, your goal should be that your children are not the losers. RECONCILIATION Most of the time, clients come to this office to seek a divorce. Not all have made up their minds to take that big step, however, and seek first to know their other options. The Firm encourages clients or potential clients to explore alternatives to divorce, and often we will suggest other approaches that will protect the client and meet his or her needs, short of divorce. When your attorney raises the topic of reconciliation with you, he or she is not questioning or judging your decision, but is confirming that you are aware that the results you seek may be attained by other means and that what you really desire is a divorce. This is your life, and it is your marriage. If there is a chance of reconciling the marriage, now is the time to do it. New Hampshire has many competent psychiatrists, psychologists, and marriage counselors. We will make recommendations to you if you desire. CONFIDENTIALITY Communications with this office are confidential, which means they are protected by the attorney-client privilege. This is the case regardless of whether you are speaking with your attorney or with a legal assistant. Please understand that in order for this office to represent you adequately, it is necessary for you to be cooperative and truthful and for us to be fully informed on all facts pertinent to your situation. We are not here to judge you. Our goal is to obtain the best outcome possible for you in your case. One of the worst things that can happen to your case is for your attorney to be surprised when he or she is in court because you did not tell your attorney the whole story.